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Can you over fertilise your lawn?

Posted on April 28, 2020 by Ashlee Hall

Fertilising your lawn is generally something you do, or you don’t… there’s no in between. And for those who do, there’s the old ‘there’s never too much of a good thing’ – but, can you actually over fertilise your lawn?

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Photo courtesy of Lawn Solutions Australia

In short, yes. Yes, you can over fertilise your lawn and it will start negatively affecting your turf’s health. That does not mean you shouldn’t fertilise your lawn though – you definitely should include a good fertiliser as part of your lawn care regime, just be smart about it!

Keep reading to find out a little more and give Rosemount Turf a call on (07) 5448 6398 for some extra guidance.

Why fertilise your lawn?

Fertilising your lawn is a necessary job because there is usually a lack of the required nutrients it needs within the soil. You need to supplement the existing nutrient levels, so you can achieve a balance of all the nutrients your lawn needs to stay looking great and growing well.

What happens if you over fertilise?

If you over fertilise your turf, this results in sudden plant growth, particularly when it comes to leaf growth and thatch. The problem with this is that the roots of your lawn will not experience the same amount of rapid growth, which results in them being unable to supply the amount of water and nutrient that your grass needs to be healthy.

As fertiliser is primarily a combination of mineral salts, over fertilising will cause these salts to build up in the soil. This makes it difficult for water to be absorbed, which dries out your grass and causes discolouration and possibly even plant death if bad enough.

How do you know if you have over fertilised your lawn?

These are the signs to look out for when it comes to over fertilisation of your lawn:

  • Turf roots are darker and/or weak.
  • There are fertiliser burns on the grass leaf.
  • The leaftips are turning brown and/or the lower leaves are turning yellow.
  • The soil surface has a salt-like ‘crust’ of fertiliser on it.

How can you fix an over fertilised lawn?

If some of the signs and symptoms above are showing, but it is the growing months, your turf should bounce back quite quickly on its own. To help it along, water on a regular basis as this will help leech the excess salts from the soil. You can also aerate and lightly top dress your lawn to improve the composition of your soil, which will also help your lawn recover.

How can you avoid over fertilising your lawn?

Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure you don’t fall into an over fertilisation trap:

  • Always read the label of the fertiliser you are apply, to check the rates. It is generally recommended that 20 grams per square metre is suffice though (so 2kg will service around 100 square metres of lawn).
  • Always water your lawn after fertilising, to avoid the risk of burning the leaf of your grass. If you don’t have a pop-up irrigation system in your yard, consider applying your fertiliser before heavy rain to save water. You can also set up a sprinkler or water it in well by hand with a hose – whatever suits!
  • If your lawn has a pH imbalance, you will find that your fertiliser isn’t as effective as it should be. Check the pH level of your soil to ensure it is able to absorb the nutrients it needs, instead of applying fertiliser over and over, as this can be detrimental.

Ultimately, only fertilise your lawn a few times a year. Additional applications of particular nutrients can be applied if you are trying to fix an issue or if your lawn has experienced difficult growing conditions and requires a quick boost of nutrient for recovery. That is more than enough!

Give Rosemount Turf a call on (07) 5448 6398 for further help when it comes to all your turf needs.


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